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Structure and fast-moving water make this location a haven for stripers, keeper cod, pollock and more.
By Charley Soares
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More than a few fishermen believe the East End of the Canal is one single location. It’s actually a very a large area with numerous productive spots. For those unfamiliar with this striper hot spot, it’s time you got acquainted. Actually there are two sides of the east end; the Sandwich (Cape side) and the Sagamore (off-Cape) side, both of which offer world-class striper fishing.

The Scussett State Fish Pier is a large wooden structure located on the Sagamore side. The structure is in a prime location, offering access to the rocky shoreline as well as permitting long casts out into the center of the canal. While many fishermen are attempting to heave lures and baits great distances, the best fishing is usually underfoot between the pilings and right along the shoreside riprap.

Arriving early will secure you a spot and while many novices choose to soak bait, the sharpies, including my friend Charlie Cinto, will wait for a low tide that begins to turn east. They will walk to the west end of the pier and cast up-current, then walk the lure back along the length of the pier and repeat. Charlie said that most who fish here are aware of the etiquette, yielding to people working lures and assisting or giving way for an angler landing a fish.

For the past 30 years, I’ve fielded reports for The Fisherman and the shops in this area have always had high praise for this location—one of the very few places where you could still catch a legal striper, pollock or cod. The cold, fast waters are a bait magnet and it’s not at all uncommon to find birds working pods of bait. Most regulars employ stout tackle to put the brakes on a big fish using her wide beam and a powerful tide to aid her escape.

The pier also attracts lobsters which in turn attract would-be lobstermen. Cinto has lost more than his share of lures and fish to pots set with floating rather than favored lead line that tends bottom and does not rise up into the water column.

Some years ago, I steamed up to the Manomet Cliffs area and began working the depths around Maryanne Rocks for cod. After three hours, the score was three barely legal cod and four jigs contributed to ghost lobster gear. Then it was time for small miracles. A man less thoughtful might consider it luck but I know better. Just as we neared the Scussett jetty, we saw birds working and life on the surface. We scrambled for the baitcasting gear and spoons and began casting to 5- to 7-pound pollock feeding on sand eels with cod to 10 pounds under them.

Later that morning, we enjoyed a late breakfast at a Buzzards Bay eatery when three fishermen walked in and came over to our table. They had been fishing the Scussett pier and caught a mix of pollock and a few legal cod. The crew at Red Top enjoyed fresh fish that evening thanks to a not-unusual blitz in the productive east end of the canal.